Featured Volunteer: Skip Boomershine
A Passion for Making it Happen… Skip Boomershine
By: Jackie Robertson
Volunteers are what keep the Iron Dog in motion each year. One of the many dedicated volunteers who have helped with tireless intensity is Skip Boomershine. Much to his surprise and awe he was named Iron Dog Volunteer of the Year for the 2009 race but this title is not just handed out, it is earned. He has a passion for the race that you see in his eyes and feel in the air when he talks about the Iron Dog. There is a spirit to this race that once you have become involved you are hooked and Skip wanted to ‘join that club’.
He came to the Director, Laura Bedard with a promise that he would prove to her his value as a volunteer rather than tell her what he could do. He had the intention to learn the psyche of the race from all aspects and in 2007 he came aboard as a volunteer. Prior to this he had been an Iron Dog addict and the launch of the website only fueled this addiction allowing him easy access to where the racers were and he would find himself checking every morning, during the day and before bed…as any good addict will.
That 2007 race year he was pulling onto Big Lake to setup the Iron Dog starting line and event areas as a new volunteer. He expected to be greeted with an army of other volunteers like himself ready to help, but to his surprise, there were only a few. As they worked the pipes into the frozen ice he was already thinking of ways to improve this setup. He is a natural at finding bottlenecks in a process and fixing it. He is a Project Manager by trade. When it came time to take the Starting line down, it was obvious that something had to be done about the chute, and there his planning began. It had taken 45 minutes per pole to get them out of the ice and by nightfall when they were using the headlights from the vehicles to see it was definitely time for serious help. His involvement grew that year as he became the assistant to Dennis Falldorf, Race Director.
The Iron Dog is not the first for Skip as far as volunteering is concerned; he is selfless in the efforts he puts out into the community. Standing at his side with all the heart of true support is his beautiful wife Cheryl. They are spending their 30th year of marriage together this year and their bond remains strong.
This support came multiplied for the 2008 race year when he decided to run it with his sons. She knew the expense was going to be incredible but now it was multiplied since her boys were joining. She thought they were crazy as she thought of the Iron Dog as long, cold and expensive. This was a sacrifice she gladly accepted and supported knowing how much it meant to Skip and her sons. She even donated her brand new sled for the adventure to retrieve it well…in Iron Dog condition once it was all over. Her advice for the wives and mothers of the Iron Doggers and volunteers is to get as involved as you can.
Skip admits there are a small percentage of people that are the nuts and bolts of any organization. They are the givers and the doers of our world. The lazy man never has time, yet a busy man finds the time…You just make it happen. His wife Cheryl advises it’s all in your priorities. Skip reflected on his desire in life is about trying to make his life count, be something significant in the world…something positive. People like Skip are rare, certainly not a dime a dozen as he admits.
The 2007 year he assisted Dennis and the 2010 race year, well he will be replacing Dennis so that Dennis may now pursue his Iron Dog dreams as well. It was a deal they had made together and Dennis is doing all he can to show Skip everything about being the Race Director for the Iron Dog, certainly no easy task yet a perfect fit for Skip.
Skip doesn’t find himself spinning his wheels to get things done, but when there is a lack of volunteers he ends up biting off more than anticipated. With more volunteers the leaps and bounds the race could make forward would be unfathomable. Just a few moments of someone’s time could mean a step forward for the Iron Dog. The race depends upon the staff and mostly the volunteers to really pull it off. This is one organization that can use the support and truly appreciates it.
Skip has the true heart of an adventurer. When asked if the Iron Dog run as a Father with his sons was the trip of a lifetime together, he answered, “No, that it is ‘a’ trip of a lifetime as I am looking for the next one. Big adventures are your lives treasures not the material things that you can buy.”
If you get a chance to chat with Skip, ask him about his ‘gauntlets’…only after you have asked how you can help of course.